Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Face Off

    The concept of the Face Off Masculinity by Bordo is an interesting way of describing the relationship of men and their representation in the media. Bordo describes the face off in which men are literally battling the camera as to gain dominance and ownership of one's own manliness within the frame. Through out history we have seen men in America represented as the classic, hard nose iron worker persona as displayed through the rockers effect. In contrast, recent years have shown some men through the lens of the lean, which is similar to the way in which women are displayed through media as a symbols to be objectified as they are portrayed as helpless limp dolls with no purpose at all but to be objectified. Although the men may be rockers or leaners the face off is still a symbol of dominance when displayed through the media. It has many elements of narcissism and physiological warfare, in which men are challenged by these face offs although they are still images. The challenge comes from the insecurity intended for the viewer to feel to illicit some response usually to a product.
       Personally I think Bordo does a fine job discussing the ruthlessness within the male media industry as it pertains to modeling and other forms of entertainment. I would like to inform you all a bit more in regards to the shallowness within the modeling industry and how much subjectification is really seen even in male modeling. This is not meant to slam the modeling industry in any way but to shed light on things that may go unseen. I’ll be discussing attention to weight loss and consumption with self derived from external pressures.
       Weight loss is a huge issue for male models. About 25 to 30 pounds ago I modeled for Nike GQ, in fact the same magazine that one of our classmates showed for her media share. I modeled for Men’s Warehouse, Kohl’s, Jc Pennies, Macy’s and many more. With this said, I was constantly worried about my weight. At one point I weighed 166 pounds at 6-foot 1and a ½. Lets just say this is really skinny. I was doing fit modeling for Levi’s at the time and one of the sellers looked at me tapped my leg and asked if I had been working out because the pants were tight on me. Please realize the jeans were “skinnies” intended to be tight on any male with a 32 waist. At that time I was a 31 one waist. Never the less these things make an impression on you because you get paid by a lot of money by these idiots and you begin to put yourself worth in the jobs and money you get while loosing sight of who you are. At 19 I made 88,000 dollars doing all of this, but it was whack because I compromised the elements of humanity that shouldn’t be commoditized. I’m saying this because weight messes with your head if your job is to look a certain way. I will make this bold statement. If you are a successful male model, you have some form of an eating disorder. Like it or not, I’ve never had a friend who was a successful, working, well known model in the industry that did not completely get consumed with image and self consumption. I’ll stop ranting. By the way, same with girls. Many of my girl friends that I shot with that made twice if not three times as much money as me would never say that have an eating disorder. But it behind the vanity is a blank canvass, people looking for acceptance in a place that is willing to offer it, although shallow and fleeting. I’m done. Thanks, holla.

John Gilchrist

1 comment:

  1. John, these are amazing insights into the world of male modeling (and you seem to be suggesting that there's a big income disparity between male and female models, even today... probably one of the few realms in which men make less than women!). I think if we made even a cursory survey of television advertising and shows, though, we would still see far more "non-ideal" male body types than the equivalent female ones, because it's more culturally acceptable for men to be "big" or "hefty."